apoc­a­lypse now

Su­per­nat­u­ral proves to be one hell of a se­ries as it en­ters its fifth sea­son.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENVIRONMENT - By MUMTAJ BEGUM

A LOT of tele­vi­sion se­ries tend to be on a down­ward spi­ral af­ter sur­pass­ing their in­tial sea­sons. Not Su­per­nat­u­ral though. This se­ries which re­volves around the Winch­ester broth­ers (Jensen Ack­les and Jared Pad­elecki) just keeps im­prov­ing with each sea­son. No doubt that it has a lot to do with the fact that se­ries cre­ator Eric Kripke had mapped out the story of Dean and Sam Winch­ester in a five-sea­son arc, al­low­ing him to crank up the plot to the point of no re­turn and hav­ing the broth­ers travel along un­ex­pected roads. So, while the se­ries may have started out as a weekly horror story, it has be­come so much richer and lay­ered. For one, there is the con­tin­u­ous story which ex­plores the strong bond of the broth­ers that has been put to the test so many times in their ad­ven­tures as de­mon hunters. Then there is that mas­sive shift in the story in sea­son three when the se­ries starts in­clud­ing el­e­ments of be­lief, faith and hope. At the end of sea­son three, Dean’s soul is lit­er­ally dragged to hell by hell­dogs, leav­ing no doubt as to where the story is headed. Thus, in sea­son four, we see Dean alive again af­ter be­ing snatched from hell by an an­gel, as com­manded by God. In this sea­son, too, the se­ries paints an in­ter­est­ing pic­ture about an­gels ... erm, like maybe they are not so an­gelic. Fi­nally, the sea­son ended last week on TV3, with Sam be­ing tricked into re­leas­ing the Devil (yes, that would be Lu­cifer) from the un­der­world to roam the Earth where he plans to un­leash a war that is meant to wipe out mankind. Come on, se­ri­ously, has there been any se­ries bold enough to ap­proach this sub­ject head on? We think not. Misha Collins, who por­trays one of the more faith­ful an­gels named Castiel in the se­ries, agrees that the show started re­fer­ring to the Bi­ble quite a lot in its last two sea­sons. He ex­plains in an in­ter­view in Los An­ge­les, the United States: “Eric told me they had a rule, any mythol­ogy on the show has to be Google-able, which means it is not com­pletely made up and that the su­per­nat­u­ral be­ing has to be some­where out there in some lore. “Then it dawned on Eric: wait a minute, there is this other re­source that we can be draw­ing on, which is the Old and New Tes­ta­ments. So a lot of what’s hap­pen­ing this year – with the Apoc­a­lypse – re­ally comes from the Book Of Rev­e­la­tion.” Be­fore any­one goes up in arms about this, fel­low co-star Jim Beaver (who por­trays fel­low de­mon hunter Bobby) as­sures that the sub­ject has been treated with great re­spect. He says: “I’m a preacher’s son. I grew up with Bi­ble lessons, but I learned more about the Rev­e­la­tion in the last year and a half than I did the whole time I was grow­ing up lis­ten­ing to my dad be­cause the fact is, we don’t know for cer­tain what a lot of that is sup­posed to mean. And I love the idea that Eric is say­ing, well, maybe it means this.” Beaver con­tin­ues: “I think Eric’s vi­sion of this show is to use these things that have coloured our ap­proach to life for cen­turies as a way of look­ing at who we are as peo­ple. “It is not about re­li­gion, it is about peo­ple in the con­text of the things that give them hope and fear. “It is re­ally in­ter­est­ing how well they’re skirt­ing the edges of that, play­ing with what could be re­ally dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory. And I don’t think it re­ally ever be­comes dan­ger­ous.”

Shoot to thrill

Dangers aside, an­other rea­son why Su­per­nat­u­ral is so ap­peal­ing is its abil­ity to weave hu­mour even dur­ing heav­ier emo­tional mo­ments and darker themes. Fans know that ev­ery time Dean and Sam as­sume new iden­ti­ties, in or­der to glean in­for­ma­tion from the un­sus­pect­ing pub­lic, the names they use have some known ref­er­ences at­tached to them. In one episode, they are Agents Ford and Hamill (a Star Wars ref­er­ence), in an­other they are Fa­ther Sim­mons and Fa­ther Frehley (Gene Sim­mons and Ace Frehley are band mem­bers of Kiss) or just sim­ply Dean Smith and Sam Wes­son (of the Smith & Wes­son hand­gun fame). While sea­son five drives on the pave­ment of fiery flame – the Seven Horse­men do­ing what they do best and the Devil look­ing for easy vic­tims – there’s still some fun to be had, which al­most al­ways ar­rives at an un­ex­pected moment. In a very im­por­tant episode in sea­son five – in which the iden­tity of the ar­changel Gabriel is re­vealed – the laughs are al­most non-stop ... well, un­til the last 10 min­utes of the episode when it turns deadly se­ri­ous. The episode ti­tled Chang­ing Chan­nels has the broth­ers re­al­is­ing that they ex­ist in pop­u­lar TV pro­grammes. Hav­ing no choice but to play along, they ex­ist within shows not un­like Grey’s Anatomy and CSI: Mi­ami. Ack­les agrees that episodes like those are fun to do. He says: “We do a lot of goofy stuff in be­tween takes and I think the writ­ers kind of picked up on a few of those things and de­cided they were go­ing to in­cor­po­rate them into the show. He adds: “I like that we don’t take our­selves so se­ri­ously that we can’t do stuff like that. I like the fact that the show throws in bits of cur­rent events and cul­tural ref­er­ences and that it is not overly dra­matic that you feel drained af­ter watch­ing it. “We like to pep­per in those lighter and fun episodes be­cause they en­ter­tain peo­ple. Whether it is the laugh­ing or the cry­ing or get­ting scared or what­ever it is, we want to be an en­ter­tain­ing show. And to have the abil­ity to run a wide spec­trum of that is a huge rea­son that we’re suc­cess­ful.”

Fi­nal des­ti­na­tion

Thanks to its grow­ing suc­cess, the se­ries has re­ceived an ex­ten­sion for one more sea­son sur­pass­ing Kripke’s orig­i­nal vi­sion. The sixth sea­son, which is cur­rently air­ing in the United States, makes the rest of us beg the ques­tion – what could pos­si­bly fol­low af­ter the Devil lets loose an apoc­a­lypse? Dur­ing this in­ter­view with Ack­les, the 32year-old ad­mits he’s equally cu­ri­ous. “I’m very happy that we got picked up for a sixth sea­son be­cause I want to see where they go af­ter this. “Be­cause Eric wasn’t go­ing to go five years and stretch it out over six. He was like, ‘I am go­ing to do the five sea­sons, I am go­ing to knock it out of the park and then we will fig­ure it out from there.’” He says he has greater an­tic­i­pa­tion on the script for sea­son six. “Well, ex­cept for sea­son five when I went to hell at the end of it and I was like ‘Am I go­ing to have a job next year?’ “But then I have died 100 times so it doesn’t mat­ter. So I’m ex­cited to see what hap­pens as far as that goes. “Eric is go­ing big which is great, be­cause when you go that large with the story you al­most have to hit re­set but­ton, which is kind of what I am hop­ing to see next sea­son,” Ack­les con­jec­tures. “We’ve known five years of these guys and what they have been through and now they are back to al­most where they were at the be­gin­ning of sea­son one, which to me is ex­cit­ing be­cause it is like you don’t have to rein­vent your­self but you get to take ev­ery­thing that the au­di­ence knows about these char­ac­ters and ap­ply it to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tion.” If any­one can pull off a re­turn from the dead, Su­per­nat­u­ral def­i­nitely can. n The fifth sea­son of Su­per­nat­u­ral starts to­day on TV3 at 11.05pm.

Tense moment:

An­gel Castiel (Misha Collins) has no idea how to be­have like a hu­man or, worse, how to flash his fake FBI ID con­vinc­ingly, which may give away the game he and Dean Winch­ester (Jensen Ack­les) are play­ing to glean in­for­ma­tion.

Hunter Bobby (Jim Beaver) get­ting a visit from a pair of ghostly twins.

Sam (Jared Pad­elecki) fac­ing an an­gel who is bent on chang­ing the Winch­ester his­tory.

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